Skin bleaching continues to be an unpleasant issue across the Caribbean, African, and Asian countries; However, the West African country Ghana is doing something about it.

Ghana is waging war against the multi-billion dollar skin-bleaching industry with a fresh and strict legislation.

The Food and Drugs Authority of Ghana has issued a ban on the importation of all products which contain the skin-lightening chemical hydroquinone.

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The ban on skin bleaching creams followed that of neighbouring Ivory Coast, a major production point of bleaching creams.

The Acting Chief Executive of the Authority, Mimi Darko told a parliamentary committee on the measures being put in place to crack down on the products in the market.

According to her FDA has stopped registering products with the bleaching chemical hydroquinone and has launched a sensitization programme against the sale of the product in the market.

“The bleaching agent in most bleaching creams is hydroquinone and the Ghana standard now is, there should be zero percent hydroquinone in bleaching creams”.

“The FDA is working with cosmetic sellers to ensure that those creams are not available on the market. The lab is also testing to make sure that even if they try and hide it, we will find it in laboratory analysis,” she added.

The West African country Ghana is now part of countries like Australia, the United States and Japan which have put rules and regulations against skin bleaching products.

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The ban in Ghana is especially significant given the prevalence of skin-bleaching on the continent, where 70% of Nigerian women alone admit to using skin lightening products.

In large part, the popularity of these products is the result of colourism: the discrimination of people with dark skin complexions.

In many countries in Africa, men and especially women with lighter skin are favoured over those with darker skin, leading to better opportunities and treatment in society.